Honiton leasehold conveyancing: Q and A’s
I have just started marketing my ground floor flat in Honiton.Conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed soon but I have just had a quarterly maintenance charge invoice – what should I do?
The sensible thing to do is pay the service charge as normal because all ground rent and service charges will be apportioned on completion, so you will be reimbursed by the buyer for the period running from after the completion date to the next payment date. Most management companies will not acknowledge the buyer unless the service charges have been paid and are up to date so it is important for both buyer and seller for the seller to show that they are up to date. Having a clear account will assist your cause and will leave you no worse off financially.
I am tempted by the attractive purchase price for a couple of apartments in Honiton both have in the region of 50 years unexpired on the lease term. Will this present a problem?
There are no two ways about it. A leasehold apartment in Honiton is a wasting asset as a result of the reducing lease term. The nearer the lease gets to zero years unexpired, the more it reduces the marketability of the premises. For most buyers and banks, leases with under eighty years become less and less attractive. On a more positive note, leaseholders can extend their leases by serving a Section 42 Notice. One stipulation is that they must have owned the premises for two years (unlike a Section 13 notice for purchasing the freehold, when leaseholders can participate from day one of ownership). When successful, they will have the right to an extension of 90 years to the current term and ground rent is effectively reduced to zero. Before moving forward with a purchase of a residence with a short lease term remaining you should talk to a solicitor specialising in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement. We are are happy to put you in touch with Honiton conveyancing experts who will explain the options available to you during an initial telephone conversation free of charge. A more straightforward and quicker method of extending would be to contact your landlord directly and sound him out on the prospect of extending the lease You may find he or she is happy to negotiate informally and willing to consider your offer straight off, without having to involve anyone else. This will save you time and money and it could help you reach a lower price on the lease. You need to ensure that any new terms represent good long-term value compared with the standard benefits of the Section 42 Notice and that onerous clauses are not inserted into any redrafting of the lease.
I've recently bought a leasehold property in Honiton. Am I liable to pay service charges relating to a period prior to my ownership?
Where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. Strange as it may seem, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. It is an essential part of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to be sure to have an up to date clear service charge receipt before completion of your purchase. If you have a mortgage this is likely to be a requirement of your lender.
If you purchase part way through an accounting year you may be liable for charges not yet demanded even if they relate to a period prior to your purchase. In such circumstances your conveyancer would normally arrange for the seller to set aside some money to cover their part of the period (usually called a service charge retention).
I work for a reputable estate agent office in Honiton where we have experienced a number of flat sales derailed due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Honiton conveyancing solicitors. Could you clarify whether the owner of a flat can instigate the lease extension formalities for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
As long as the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the buyer can avoid having to sit tight for 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed before, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.
Alternatively, it may be possible to extend the lease informally by agreement with the landlord either before or after the sale. If you are informally negotiating there are no rules and so you cannot insist on the landlord agreeing to grant an extension or transferring the benefit of an agreement to the buyer.
When it comes to leasehold conveyancing in Honiton what are the most common lease defects?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Honiton. Most leases are individual and legal mistakes in the legal wording can result in certain clauses are wrong. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:
- A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the building
- Insurance obligations
- Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
- Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall
A defective lease can cause problems when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Halifax, Virgin Money, and Godiva Mortgages Ltd all have very detailed conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease is defective they may refuse to provide security, forcing the purchaser to withdraw.
I purchased a split level flat in Honiton, conveyancing having been completed half a dozen years ago. Can you let me have an estimated range of the fair premium for a lease extension? Equivalent properties in Honiton with over 90 years remaining are worth £188,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £60 invoiced every year. The lease terminates on 21st October 2073
With only 52 years unexpired we estimate the price of your lease extension to span between £34,200 and £39,600 as well as legals.
The suggested premium range that we have given is a general guide to costs for renewing a lease, but we cannot give you a more accurate figure in the absence of comprehensive investigations. You should not use the figures in a Notice of Claim or as an informal offer. There may be additional concerns that need to be considered and clearly you want to be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. You should not move forward placing reliance on this information without first getting professional advice.